Non-compete clause in social media


I am in talks with one company (to be hired as a web developer) and looks like a contract is going to be signed soon. There are talks about non-compete clause that does not allow me to work in the social media niche for 6months or a year after a termination.

I have no experience with contracts like this yet but for me it seems like there are two potential problems:

  1. 6 or 12 months is a lot of time in the world of start-ups and if I am earning just an average I may end up in trouble with money.
  2. 'Social media' is a very ambiguous saying. I believe any interaction between users (i.e. comments) may be classified as 'social media' by a good lawyer.

I just don't want to get into any stupid problems that could have been easily avoided in the future.

Contract UK Non Compete

asked Apr 18 '12 at 09:39
113 points
  • In some states, NCA's/NCC's aren't allowed. Where are you located? – Dnbrv 11 years ago
  • UK (England to be more specific). – Gediminas 11 years ago
  • It all depends on your negotiating power. You could try this: that they pay you a small amount of money for every month they want to activate the non-compete. It usually forces them to realize that their demand doesn't make sense. – Alain Raynaud 11 years ago

3 Answers


I would argue with them that a simple Non Disclosure Agreement (NDA) should suffice. After all, what they're trying to do is stop you from learning all their secrets, and then going to work for a direct competitor and destroying them.

Also, if you're being underpaid, I would consider avoiding it. I was in a similar situation, and turned down a job offer, because I don't want to work for any sue-happy employer who's scared of their employees leaving. Seems like there might be a reason for that.

answered Jun 18 '12 at 00:32
John Z
216 points


It is a common scam in contracting. I suspect that it is down to over-active legal types, thinking that they are protecting their firms, where in fact, they just put people off by such stupidity.

IANAL, but I was told that there is such a thing as "restraint of trade" in the UK, and such a clause would fall foul of these regulations and be rendered null and void in court. Also, in thirty years as a contractor/consultant I have never once heard of a case where a client has exercised such a clause, even with good cause (presumably because they knew they'd fail).

In the first instance, I would ask why the clause is there, and how they would feel about removing it. Their response may tell you something about how it will be to work for them.

Of course, if you are concerned about this, you should consult a lawyer.


answered Apr 18 '12 at 16:47
Steve Jones
3,239 points


As with all contracts read the actual contract and make sure your happy with all the clauses before signing. The scope of 'Social media' should be clearly defined in the contract and if it isn't you can either ask for that clause to be removed or changed to be clearer.

In many cases the Non-compete clause boils down to just not working for one of their direct competitors and shouldn't stop you starting your own business.

answered Apr 18 '12 at 18:16
Tom Squires
1,047 points
  • +1 draw a line through the clause and send it back. If they counter, then ask them to define Social Media. Does it mean you cannot use Twitter,Facebook,a blog, email? Make them or their lawyer spend several hours trying to determine a definition. – James 10 years ago

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